Unplug Kids From Screens Using These 6 Easy Methods
Well, we are now well into summer, and I hope that yours has started out well! If you are a parent, you might be faced with the common struggle of getting your kids off the screen (in whatever format – TV, iPad, PlayStation, iPhone).
I’m not here to vilify screen time. I just believe too much of a good thing is never good. We are meant to be physically active and interactive within our real life surroundings. During the summer especially, kids should take advantage of their free time to just be kids — play outside, run around, meet new friends and laugh. Of course, this is often easier said than done. Getting kids to unplug from screens may be very difficult.
My sons’ summer (ages 12, 9, almost 4) look nothing the way mine did when I was growing up. The technology that was available to me is incomparable to how it is now. As a kid, screen entertainment didn’t offer near the variety and allure that kids have available today. I probably got cable TV when I was in about 5th or 6th grade. Prior to that, TV was VERY limited. I mean, I watched my fair share of shows and played the occasional video game (Asteroids, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were my favorites). However, the shows and games I enjoyed as a kid are incomparable to today’s entertainment. It’s so tempting for kids to binge watch’ shows, including Spongebob Squarepants or Phineas and Ferb or play games, including Minecraft and League of Legends.
With so many entertainment options for kids these days, it can be quite a challenge to tear kids away from the screen. I know firsthand as I have 3 boys of my own . I’m sure that if my wife and I let them, they’d be glued to their screens 24/7.
Don’t let the summer pass your kids by. Here are 6 ways to get the kiddos to unplug:
1. Be a role model
If we are on the screen frequently, even if its mainly for work, our kids pick up on that and adopt your habits. Setting limits on their screen time doesn’t hold much weight if you don’t practice what you preach.
2. Set time limits
Establishing a hard and fast time limit is difficult, but extremely helpful. My wife and I limit our kids’ screen time to about one hour a day during the week and to two hours on weekends. Make a rule that screens cannot be turned on until a certain time in the morning and must be turned off by a certain time at night.
3. Establish tech free zones
Prohibit the use of technology in certain rooms (parents, this means you too).
4. One screen at a time
If you are doing a family movie night or your kids are watching a show, set a rule that multi-asking is not allowed. In other words, no texting while watching SpongeBob. Besides, multi-tasking is mainly a myth — we switch tasks rather than truly multitask.
5. Do family activities together
A great way to to teach your kids they can have fun off the screen. I suggest taking the kids bowling, putt-putting, hiking, kayaking, or even a hosting a family board game night!
6. Summer camps
One of the best ways to “win” the fight about screen time is to not have it in the first place. When kids are at some activity camp, they will naturally be engaged in activities that focus their attention. Hopefully, at the same time they are learning that great fun can be had and friendships forged off the screen.